S. Korea to face Iraq in final tuneup before Asian Cup in Jan.

December 22, 2023

South Korea will take on Iraq in their final tuneup match before the top Asian men’s football tournament in January, officials said Friday.

The Iraq Football Association announced on its official Facebook page that the match between 23rd-ranked South Korea and 63rd-ranked Iraq will be played on Jan. 6 in the United Arab Emirates. It will be nine days before South Korea’s first Group E match at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in Qatar.

Coached by Jurgen Klinsmann, South Korea will travel to Abu Dhabi on Jan. 2 to set up training camp ahead of the AFC tournament.

An official with the Korea Football Association (KFA) told Yonhap News Agency that the two sides had to exchange one final document to confirm the fixture and that it would make the official announcement later in the day.

South Korea have eight wins, 12 draws and two losses against Iraq so far. The Taegeuk Warriors prevailed 3-0 in their most recent meeting in November 2021, during the final round of the Asian World Cup qualifying tournament.

Coached by Jurgen Klinsmann, South Korea are riding a five-match winning streak, during which they have scored 19 goals and conceded zero.

Iraq have just one loss in their past six matches. In January this year, Iraq won the Arabian Gulf Cup, a biennial competition for the eight members of the Arab Gulf Cup Football Federation, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

Iraq will play in Group D at the Asian Cup. If South Korea win Group E and Iraq finish in second place in Group D, they will clash in the round of 16.

There are six groups of four at the AFC tournament. The top two teams from each group, along with the four best third-place nations, will advance to the knockouts.

South Korea will try to win their first Asian Cup since 1960.

Klinsmann will announce his 26-man squad in Seoul on Thursday. The team will depart for Abu Dhabi on Jan. 2 for training camp. Following the Iraq match, South Korea will travel to Qatar on Jan. 10.